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__________________________________________________________Journalist Hendrix 'Aitch' Harrison links bodies stolen from a renowned forensic-research lab to an influential drug company. Aided by Sarah Wallace, a determined and beguiling entomologist, he delves into a grisly world of clinical trials and a viral treatment beyond imagining. But Aitch must battle more than his fear of technology to expose the macabre fate of the drugged victims donated to scientific research.
Instead of giving you a traditional review sounding a bit like "First this happened, and then you have these two characters, there was passion, and there was a bad guy and .. etc.." I feel there is more of a critique needed. For this review/critique I am the Gene Shallot of Indie Book Publishing... well minus the mustache, the 'fro and the double chin.. OH and those awful glasses! (But not the bow tie.. bow ties are cool!)
I feel the need (adjusting my bow tie) to delve into a few things that caused my struggle to read this novel. This read should have taken me 3-days tops. I read fast, but I am highly picky about specific technical issues. I get really hung up on little things that ruin a story for me. So please remember as you read through this post and go "Kriss get over yourself, that is nothing juts let it go", hear me say this "No, I won't let it go. Just give what I say a chance!"
I am in the habit of reading analytically, I cannot help it, it is what I do. If I have no problems I can say "Woohhoo I LOVED this book, it was SO fun..." and gush everywhere, which you all have seen me do. Because of this I tend to take all forms of ingested media apart if something bothers me..gets stuck in my teeth like many little things in this book did. But because this book was obviously written by someone with a creative AND technical mind I ended up analyzing, trying to find the hidden meaning which in turn ruined the adventure of the read for me. Every artist mixes something special into the pigment of their piece. With so many well constructed metaphors and images within GENERATION, to have someone so carelessly use these two recognizable and popular works sets the readers up with expectations. I had more than a few.. Zombie like? X-File like? The powerful duo of Girl with a Dragon Tattoo? (cracking knuckles). Let's get down to a few.
Yes, I can see this definitely. A journalist not accepted as a true journalist because of the publication he works for, a paranormal paper.. Mulder! Absolutely nothing wrong with this. He is a freelancer, and this publication happens to be the place that sends him the most work. He seems to be happy to getting the work considering how he left the service. (The reasons why he left are EXTREMELY important and are dumbed and played down and this is another problem for me..This was hinted at but never completely explained unless you really are paying attention and taking notes [umm ya I did LOL] ) The scientist, the person of reason, obviously our entomologist Dr. Sarah Wallace is our Scully. OK I buy it so far.
No clue other than you have a journalist who has been blacklisted due to being sued by a person of influence and power who targeted him on purpose after he got to close to the truth. YES that is about where it stops. (thinking a bit more... umm hmmm) yes this is where it stops. OK you got me there.. right (throwing pen down). But no this is not all!
Let's talk about the main character for a bit. Hendrix Harrison, what a great name right? It is a GREAT character. Though I think that some of the character building needed to be a bit more precise. Most folks label him, including in the Amazon details, as a technophobe. This is very misleading, he is not TECHNICALLY a technophobe.
OK so the second definition sort of fits. However, TECHNICALLY he is a man suffering from PTSD. He was discharged from the military because of an incident that involved him leaving his men behind and what happened to cause him the psychological disaster of his military career.
I cannot really go into why calling Harrison a technophobe is truly wrong without it becoming a spoiler, but as I read all the references about the incident during his military tour in Afghanistan it is actually a PTSD causality. Suffice it to say, he has a good reason NOT wanting to be hip with a new smart phone and be forced to tweet or text. He does when he HAS too but he does not even want to face his phone or have anything to do with it, again, unless he forced into a corner, as when he has to text the doctor to get her attention.
If he was a technophobe Harrison would not be using his bloody laptop constantly. In fact he is described at one point to being in his element as he types furiously away at it. He prefers printed photos not because he is afraid to use a digital camera, but because he is old school. I went to journalism school also, and many journalist are the same way. They like working with the media and have a hard time moving on and away from print media. Would the normal reader know this? No but the author is a technician, he knows his technology and so he knows these arguments, and in this I applaud him! It is a wonderful part of Harrison's character development
4 stars for all character development needs to be noted. They are well constructed. The sinister corporate man, the powerful media mogul our focused scientist.. even the poor geriatric widow are well rounded and three dimensional.
Another amazing aspect of writing that makes this author shine, and makes me really not like giving it just a GOOD rating is his incredible chapters from the viewpoint of the victims of the genetic modification treatment, labeled as "case" numbers. It speaks not only directly to the dangers of messing with "creation" but also for me I could see how Harrison is another victim. He is not infused with this horrific GM therapy, but his soul is in a constant state of regrowth just as fast as the flesh of it is decomposing because of what happened to him while serving overseas. These are threads woven by the authors voice for me. As horrific as it is to read about these poor victims, it has a dark beauty that speaks to the under tones of the book.
5 stars for the psychological horror painted for me, for the not so subtle message of the dangers of gene modification as well as a VERY subtle hint of politics. Especially the ending. It was perfectly wrought!
After reading 85% of the book with some sexual tension, much like Mulder and Scully, between our journalist and our doctor (see I can give props to a reviewer of such caliber *rolling eyes*) I still was unprepared for what happens. Maybe a kiss but they were in the middle of a clandestine search for the truth and to regain their reputations that were being squashed by Big Brother Pharmaceuticals, much like Lisbeth and Mickael. (see again with the props in relation to the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).
But unlike these two couples... wait perhaps partners would be better, partners thrust together in circumstance by someone or some company in a position of great power. However I think the reason that it was compared to these two partners as a popular culture reference is of perhaps some misguided advice that "sex sells". Sure it does, but this does not mean that you have to have a rough and (what reads IMNSHO to me uncomfortable scene written in after the authors final draft at some misguided persons
insistence suggestion. I bet there is a version of this novel having a kiss, or perhaps a bit of gentle touching which was due to the nature of moment because each Harrison and Wallace are at the proverbial crossroad of their careers and lives.
1 star - for this poorly constructed and awkward hack erotica/sloppy porno scene.
I think this book would be a good study at the dangers of small publishing houses and your work. I believe this author has been poorly advised. I can see the threads of the story and I feel the novel had huge potential! I can also see someone else's voice being half hazardously threaded in many different parts of the book. Oh I am sure that Knight wrote all of it. But I can tell it was probably suggested by an editor/marketing "professional" to write things in, such as the sex scene. It was uncomfortable, and unnecessary. All it did is make me throw my hands up and exclaim "WTF" more than a few times and cause my poor cat to yet again hide underneath the bed till Geoff got home.
OK so let's wrap this up:
- Characters 4 /5 stars +
- Psychological Horror 5 stars's +
- Miserably failed sex scene 1 star +
- 10 ÷ 3 = 3 1/3 Stars
I need to add one thing (this is post publication of this piece) The ending? It was BRILLIANT non-traditional and unexpected! FANTASTIC... absolutely disagree that this is a cliff hanger. This is what made me rethink a few things and made me question the other voice I kept hearing. This book, worth the read JUST to get to the ending and read all the INCREDIBLE psychological and visual horror scenes of each case file.. THIS part of the canvas gets 6 STARS!